I’ve kept a journal for years. Sometimes, it’s more of a diary of what happened that day, sometimes it’s more of “hey, I noticed this and it was cool,” sometimes it’s a list of things that inspired feelings of gratitude in me. Sometimes it’s in paragraph form, sometimes it’s a bullet-point list. Right now, I complete my “joie journal” at the end of my day and the entry is at least one thing – one single thing! – that brought me joy that day.
Do this for long enough and you start to notice trends. Maybe music pops up in a number of entries, or maybe you notice that you’re often writing about the thrill of trying a new recipe, or getting out in the fresh air, or trying a new perfume. I noticed that clutter was driving away my joy.
Since Lent began last week, I’ve taken up the “40 Days of Decluttering” challenge. Now, I had already cleared out my dresser and closets, but there’s a lot in this little, snug, cozy house that is just too much. And I’m a firm believer that, if you want lovely things and experiences to come your way, there has to be room for it. Too much stuff clogs up the flow and, like many people, I have Too. Much. Stuff. So this seemed like a good way for me to pare down and simplify.
If you decide to do this, my advice is to go slowly. Nothing should take more than 15 minutes in a day and yes, that means large projects take more than one day. So start with the kitchen junk drawer or the spice cabinet. (Rosemary won’t poison you, but it simply CANNOT be as fragrant after four years! Don’t judge me.) This is not easy. I have to fight feelings of guilt about throwing out things that might still have a little use in them. (I’m not talking about perfectly good items – when I sorted through my clothes and accessories, several thrift shops in town were thrilled with me!) And there’s no need to wrestle with guilt of “oh, but I should have used that.” Maybe you should have, but you didn’t. So get rid of it. Now move onto the next item.
Today, I’ve taken all the pictures off the walls. For years, we’ve had things in the same places just because we were used to things being there. It’s time to shake that up, so I’m going to live with bare walls for a few days while I figure out what should be showcased where and what was hanging up because there just happened to be a hook there!
Less, Divas, truly is more. And there’s something joyful in the possibility of empty space.
Seek joy, Divas!